Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We went to Pittsburgh this summer to attend the admission information session at Carnegie Mellon University. After sitting through the session and walking around the campus, Jacob decided that he is likely to not be interested in the academic tradition and student culture at this university. David and I shared his first impressions and feelings. Although CMU is among the 10 best universities for engineering in the country, we supported Jacob’s decision to not apply to it also because CMU has decided to eliminate the SAT and ACT scores from their admission considerations as well as to promote a WOKE agenda.

Our brightest and funniest moment on CMU’s campus happened while we were drinking water from a water fountain and saw a small sticker that said “For rectal use only” that a student must have put there as a prank. We still laugh about that until this day. Except for that hilarious moment, we didn’t enjoy our self-guided walking tour of the campus: we were impressed with neither the facilities nor the overall energy of this university.

Beside not liking CMU’s style, we also found the urban environment around the university disappointingly anxiety-inducing. We went to 2 grocery stores in Pittsburgh and saw security guards carrying guns in both stores. At one of the grocery stores, we saw some people behaving very strangely in the parking lot. Sometimes laid out in odd angles, the residential streets in Pittsburgh are extremely narrow and hilly, which caused David a lot of stress while driving. As a whole, although having some exquisite architectural gems, Pittsburgh’s urban environment, in July summer heat, gave out inexplicable feelings of somber desperation.

Aside from the student’s prank, another bright moment for us took place at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. We first went there with my cousin in 2014 when he was doing his PhD research in Computer Science at CMU. We were so enchanted by this botanical garden that we made it a goal to revisit it. Our second time there was even better than the first time owing to “Monet in Bloom” — a summer flower show inspired by the works of French impressionist painter Claude Monet. What a dreamy oasis in the dreary midst of urban Pittsburgh!

Here it is:

Monet in bloom

About David and Lam

A smitten couple and loving parents in our early 40s. We have lived in 3 different countries together. We dream of living in a fourth country together after our children grow up. We love long walks in the woods, climbing mountains, boating, traveling, reading, and being together. Both David and Lam are old souls who love quietness and meaningful conversations in which we ponder the truth and mysteries of life as well as discuss philosophical and ethical matters. We especially like to enjoy the small pleasures of daily life.
This entry was posted in Family Fun, Faraway Trips and Local Outings, From Lam's Desk, Gardening, Jacob, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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